After a long bull move gold is at a crossroads. Depending on who you talk to, the 15-year bull market in gold has ended or is taking a breather preparing for its next leg up.
The massive inflation predicted from the enormous liquidity poured into the system by central banks around the world has not arrived so gold has pulled back from its 2011 high. Gold is the most followed and globally traded commodity. But not just by retail investors watching late night TV. While there is no more gold standard, governments maintain a reserve quantity of gold.
Although gold (COMEX:GCV14) has industrial applications, gold is a monetary asset and its prime driver is investment demand. We take a look at the top reported official gold holdings of individual countries (as of June 2014) based on information from the World Gold Council.
% of reserves: 25%
% of reserves: 24%
#18: United Kingdom
UK consumers remained upbeat--jewellery demand for the first half is 25% ahead of the same period last year, albeit that absolute volumes remain very low.
% of reserves: 12
#17: Saudi Arabia
% of reserves: 2
From 2001-2012, gold prices rose constantly, accumulating an unprecedented leap of 516%, but in 2013 prices recorded a dramatic downturn hitting Venezuela's international reserves, that is, the resources available to pay imports and debts accrued in foreign currency. Also, between December 2012 and June 2014, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) had to revise down the value of the gold bars in its reserves, from USD 1,686 per troy ounce to USD 1,290 per ounce.
% of reserves: 71
% of reserves: 83
Gold reserves in Taiwan remained unchanged at 423.63 Tonnes in the first quarter of 2014 from 423.63 Tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2013.
% of reserves: 4
#13: European Central Bank
European bar and coin demand witnessed a major slowdown in the second quarter, to the bottom end of the post-financial crisis range.
% of reserves: 28
The 20% year-on-year decline in Turkish jewellery demand, as well as reflecting 2013 strength, was the result of domestic issues.
% of reserves: 16
Demand in India unsurprisingly fell short of Q2 2013’s surge, but remains robust in a historical context, exceeding its five-year quarterly average.
% of reserves: 7
Gold reserves in Netherlands remained unchanged at 612.45 Tonnes in the first quarter of 2014 from 612.45 Tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2013. Gold reserves in Netherlands averaged 710.30 Tonnes from 2000 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 911.82 Tonnes in the second quarter of 2000 and a record low of 612.45 Tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2008.
% of reserves: 54
Gold reserves in Japan remained unchanged at 765.22 Tonnes in the first quarter of 2014 from 765.22 Tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2013. Gold reserves in Japan averaged 764.72 Tonnes from 2000 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 765.22 Tonnes in the second quarter of 2001 and a record low of 753.55 Tonnes in the second quarter of 2000.
% of reserves: 3
The land of international banking holds 1,040.1 tonnes of gold, which represents 7.8% of its reserves. Some citizens feel very strongly about gold. Last year, the Swiss People's Party collected enough signatures to force a referendum on a proposal to prevent the nation's central bank form selling any of its gold reserves and require it to hold at least 20% of its assets in the precious metal.
% of reserves: 8
China and India together accounted for over half of the 56% year-on-year decline in bar and coin demand, a fact that highlights both the sheer size of these two markets and the unusual nature of last year’s demand.
% of reserves: 1
Over a period of six months, Russia has purchased 54 tons of gold and has now outstripped China in total gold reserves. Analysts see this as a sign the Russian economy is reducing its dependence on the dollar and the euro, which make up the lion's share of the country's gold and forex reserves. Yet gold still accounts for just 10 percent of Russia's reserves. Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines
% of reserves: 10
France holds 2,435.4 tonnes of gold, which represents about 64.3% of its reserves. The nation has been relatively quiet in the gold market, but six men were arrested in Paris and surrounding areas for involvement in stealing gold bars worth about 1.6 million euros from an Air France plane. On September 19, the gold was stolen from the plane shortly before it left Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport. The plane was bound for Switzerland. Source: USA Today
% of reserves: 65
During the depths of the eurozone crisis, some analysts recommended that Italy use its gold stockpile to raise funds and restore confidence. However, the nation still holds 2,451.8 tonnes of gold, representing 67% of its reserves.
% of reserves: 67
#3: International Monetary Fund
% of reserves: N/A
Home to the world’s second largest gold reserves, worth $141 billion, Germany only keeps about one third of its gold ‘at home’, the rest is abroad. 45 percent is in the US Federal Reserve in New York, 13 percent in London, 11 percent in Paris, and only 31 percent in the Bundesbank in Frankfurt.
% of reserves: 68
#1: United States
Despite ending the gold standard in 1971, the world's largest economy holds 8,133.5 tonnes of gold, representing 72% of reserves.
% of reserves: 72
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